Taste Aversion Learning in fyn Mutant Mice

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Conditioned taste aversion (CTA) learning is a robust form of classical conditioning in which animals rapidly associate a flavor with aversive internal symptoms. The present study assessed CTA learning in transgenic mice deficient in a specific nonreceptor tyrosine kinase (the fyn mutant). Fyn mutants show impaired long-term potentiation and marked deficits in acquisition of spatial learning tasks. To assess whether they are also impaired in CTA learning, fyn mutant and wild-type mice received 2 conditioning trials consisting of access to a flavored solution followed by administration of LiCl. Fyn mutant mice acquired significant CTAs following a single conditioning trial and these aversions were comparable to those seen in wild-type mice. These results indicate that the fyn mutation does not interfere with the acquisition of CTAs and hence that this mutation is not associated with a global learning deficit.

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